Cranberry Liqueur

I discovered this amazing flavored liqueur a few years ago. It needs to steep for about three weeks so if you want to make it for gifts this year, now is the time to get busy!

Bottles for liqueur

Gather those amazing bottles you have been collecting all year. If you decide you want to buy  bottles, visit

The Sunburst Bottle Company. They have an amazing selection of bottles, jars, tins etc. to choose from.

Be sure to also buy the stoppers of your choice. You can choose decorative stoppers or corks to close your finished bottles.

Another thing that is good to get are shrink bands. You can get 100 for a few dollars and this really makes a nice finishing touch to your bottles. I’ll show you later in this post what they look like and how to use them.

You can make labels on your computer or by hand. Be artistic and creative!

You will see the recipe calls for an American made vodka. This does not need to be premium vodka.  American made is specified is because American made vodka, by law, cannot have any flavor or color.

If you prefer to use high-end vodka, you can but it is not necessary. Just do not choose flavored vodka.

Ingredients for Cranberry Liqueur

To make this Cranberry Liqueur, you will need the following items:

1-12 ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups  American made vodka 100 proof
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest


1 half-gallon capacity glass jar  or a one gallon jar if you want to make a double batch.
A drip style coffee filter holder and paper filter (I use an old Melita filter holder and pot I have had for ages; drip the liqueur into the coffee pot and then pour it into the decorative bottle.)
A lid is nice but we can always cover the jar with something else if you can’t locate a lid for the jar.
Decorative bottles for the final product-sterilized in the dishwasher or with boiling water
A funnel
Bottle stoppers
Shrink bands to seal your bottles (optional, but really handy or you could dip the tops in melted wax)

Coarsely chop cranberries

Mix berries and sugar; let sit for an hour to melt

Add the vodka and water; let sit for 3 weeks

Take the cranberries and put them into a food processor. Pulse just to break them up. OR just coarsely chop them with a knife. You want to break the berries up so they can release all of the flavor and color. Do not puree the berries!

Place the berries in the jar, add the sugar and grapefruit zest. Mix it all together and let it sit for about an hour or so to begin melting the sugar.

Add the vodka and water and stir thoroughly so it gets all mixed up.

Notice the lovely color already!

Cover the jar with plastic wrap and then the lid. Place the jar in a dark spot for 3 weeks. Every now and then, take the jar out and shake or stir it to make sure the fruit is not clumping together.

The Melita filtering system

After 3 weeks set up your filtering system. I use an old Melita pot and filter because it is easy and works great for this project.

(NOTE: the pot and filter do not smell or have any coffee residue)

Using a strainer and large bowl, strain the solids from the liquids. Set the solids aside.

Now filter any residue or other remaining elements from the liquid by pouring the liqueur into the filter and allowing it to drip.

It will take its time dripping. Let it drip slowly. Do not rush or try to squeeze it through because you will end up with a cloudy product and the beauty of this liqueur is the lovely, clear  cranberry red color.

You will need to use several filters as they get “clogged” with residue as the liqueur drips through.

Once you have filtered the liqueur, pour it into your decorative bottles.

Use your judgement as to whether or not you will need to filter a second time.

Various stoppers and shrink bands

Clear shrink bands

Place the band over the neck of the bottle; hold in a stream of steam to shrink tight

Steam until the band fits tight

To use the shrink bands, fit a band over the neck of the bottle and the stopper.

Heat water in a kettle to boil.

Hold the bottle and shrink band in the steam coming from the kettle.

Rotate the bottle to shrink the band and seal the bottle.

Wipe the bottle dry and label.

This is our favorite drink to make with this liqueur

Cranberry Lime Cocktail

Over crushed ice, pour

1 oz Cranberry liqueur
Squeeze of fresh lime
Splash of club soda

Finished Cranberry Liqueur

You can serve this in champagne glasses with a cranberry floating in it at your holiday parties.

Or instead of  making Kir or a Mimosa, use cranberry liqueur.

Please be careful because even though this tastes really good, it was 100% proof vodka and now is between that and 80% proof after processing.

Remember lampshades do not look good on anyone.

Be a responsible host and ensure your guests do not drink and drive, ever.

Drink at home, have guests stay over, call a cab but do not let your friends, family or guests drive drunk.